EPS processes in planning

Richard Everett made this Freedom of Information request to Colchester Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Colchester Borough Council,

I wish to request the following information under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 'The Act'. In order to assist you
with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as
possible. As you will understand, this may not be a definitive list
of relevant information. You should also be aware that it is a
requirement of the act to respond within 20 working days. You maybe
aware that S16 of the act provides a duty on yourselves to assist
requesters.

What is the process employed by the council for dealing with
applications regarding European Protected Species (EPS).

The information should be summarised at each stage of the planning
process from validation through to determination. Please detail
where these are different processes/procedures of the council for
determinations at Outline, Reserved Matters, and Full applications.
Please indicate trigger points for processes where this is
relevant.

If a checklist approach is employed by the council to ensure
procedure is followed correctly please provide a copy(ies) of this
(these) document(s).

If the process is different for applications determined by
committee please identify these (including but not limited to
standard wordings in reports, notices to councillors etc).

If training of officers, and or councillors, is undertaken on these
specific matters (regarding EPS, Habitats regulations assessments,
duties under habitats directive etc) please indicate when this last
took place and give an outline of what training objectives were
undertaken.

If the council has a specific policy document for treatment of
applications regarding ecological matters (that would include
assessing under the habitats directives/regulations) please supply
a link to this document, or where this not published please supply
the document.

If the council exhibits, in its opinion, an example of good
practice in this area please feel free to include this.

While it is not a requirement in FOI requests to state what this
information is sought for I am happy to disclose this. It is my
intention to compare LPAs processes so as to identify good practice
in relation to treatment of EPS in the planning process.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Everett

Info, Colchester Borough Council

Dear Mr Everett

Thank you for your request which has been logged under reference 160201024538.

For full details of the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Information Regulations, how a request is dealt with and related information please visit http://www.ico.org.uk .

Yours sincerely
 
Mike Fawcett
Information and Project Officer
Colchester Borough Council
Telephone: 01206 508793
Textphone users dial 18001 followed by the full number that you wish to call.
[email address]
www.colchester.gov.uk/contact
 

show quoted sections

Mike Fawcett, Colchester Borough Council

Dear Mr Everett

I am now able to respond to your Environmental Information request logged on 1st February under reference 160201024538.

1. What is the process employed by the council for dealing with applications regarding European Protected Species (EPS).

The Council seeks always to maintain standards of biodiversity and wherever possible to enhance or improve habitats. Full ecological surveys must be submitted with all planning applications, outline and full, in accordance with Development Policy DP21. To establish whether any protected species or their habitats are likely to be affected by the proposal the Council will also consult wildlife bodies regarding sites where there are known or suspected to be protected species (Species of Principal Importance). If a proposed development is likely to result in an negative effect on the biodiversity of the site, then the applicant is required to demonstrate how damage is to be avoided, mitigated or compensated within the mitigation hierarchy through the preparation of a mitigation strategy. Colchester Borough Council has been a pilot for biodiversity offsetting but to date this has not been used and would be a last case scenario not a preference.

2. If a checklist approach is employed by the council to ensure procedure is followed correctly please provide a copy(ies) of this (these) document(s).

There is a standard procedure based upon the constraints recorded on our GIS database, no checklist is held per se.

3. If the process is different for applications determined by committee please identify these (including but not limited to standard wordings in reports, notices to councillors etc).

The procedures followed are the same whether a decision is made by committee or officer.

4. If training of officers, and or councillors, is undertaken on these specific matters (regarding EPS, Habitats regulations assessments, duties under habitats directive etc) please indicate when this last took place and give an outline of what training objectives were undertaken.

The most recent officer training on these topics attended as part of Continual Professional Development was as follows:
Planning and Biodiversity Seminar (Suffolk),focussing on ecologically led masterplanning in strategic planning and ecological survey requirements, November 2014;
Planning for the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Landscape (ARU), December 2014;
Planning & Biodiversity seminar (Braintree), August 2015.

5. If the council has a specific policy document for treatment of applications regarding ecological matters (that would include assessing under the habitats directives/regulations) please supply a link to this document, or where this not published please supply the document.

The Council follows DEFRA guidance currently published at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protected-sp... .

I trust that this information will meet your needs. If however you have any further questions or concerns regarding this request please contact me again quoting the reference given above.

Yours sincerely
 
Mike Fawcett
Information and Project Officer
Colchester Borough Council
 
Tel: 01206 508793
Textphone users dial 18001 followed by the full number that you wish to call.
 
[email address]
www.colchester.gov.uk/contact

show quoted sections